IT IS unfortunate that we, as a culture, have become too busy for simple errands, like running to the grocery store on a weeknight.
Even those who appreciate the beauty of food often skip over the opportunity to peruse the farmer’s market for seasonal vegetables and then drive over to the butcher shop to select a fresh cut of meat.
Who has time for that? Our jobs have become the priority, leaving us exhausted by the end of the day.
Regrettably, as a result, home-cooked family meals have taken a back seat to fast food or, if you’re health-conscious, rotisserie chicken and bagged lettuce.
Then there is the issue of cost. While communities want to partake in the farm to table movement, prices at some restaurants and organic grocery stores can seem unapproachable for the average person.
Food delivery services have capitalized on these predicaments, providing their customers with the ideal option; affordable farm-fresh ingredients, delivered to their door, thus eliminating the chore of grocery shopping.
Frankly, the only shopping consumers have to do is online, where, to be honest, they spend a majority of their free time anyways (myself included).
Polk’s On The Go (OTG) is a Pooler-based delivery service that partners with Southern suppliers to provide its patrons with local products at practical prices. Living by the slogan, “From our store to your door,” Polk’s OTG personally delivers wholesome ingredients sourced from local farmers and artisans.
Most Savannahians may be familiar with Polk’s Produce and Plants that was established by Hezekiah Polk in Savannah over 70 years ago. Over time Polk’s store moved from City Market to various locations in the Savannah and Richmond Hill area.
However, five years ago, Polk’s Plus opened in Pooler. While this store still has local high-quality produce, plants, and goods, the move to Pooler was an adjustment. This was truly the first time the Polk family did not have a shop in Savannah.
Given that the Polk’s valued their Savannah customer base, Hezekiah’s grandson, Barry Bashlor, chose to modernize his grandfather’s business by offering a customized local goods box delivered directly to costumer’s doors.
That said, four years ago Bashlor started Polk’s On the Go (OTG) as an extension to his family’s Pooler shop.
With an extensive delivery area that covers Pooler, Savannah, Port Wentworth, Rincon, Richmond Hill, Bloomingdale, Guyton and Wilmington Island, Bashlor found a way to provide fresh and local products to a vast population.
The distinguishing feature setting Polk’s OTG apart from other similar delivery services is a predetermined list of weekly products.
“I want my customers to know what they are getting ahead of time, with the option to customize and the freedom to order at their convenience.”
Based on what is in season, he sends out a list of the box’s tentative contents via email and displays it on the website. That way, customers can have an idea of what will be delivered.
As far as the products go, Bashlor personally visits local farmer’s markets and farms to select in-season produce.
“I have to get my eyes on everything.”
He also spends quite a bit of time searching for small local businesses that specialize in specific scratch-made products. Some of those producers include Studier’s wildflower honey from Guyton, Hunter Cattle Company’s meat from Brooklet and Dutch Kettle’s blackberry jam from Hamptonville, North Carolina.
Bashlor aims to stay as local as possible but also sources as far as Florida for different citrus varieties.
After the weekly list of produce and specialized goods is developed, Bashlor heads over to the farms before dawn every Wednesday. Once all the produce is gathered, he personally builds each box per the customer’s preferences.
“I give each one a certain amount of care.”
Then, like clockwork, every Thursday, Bashlor delivers each and every box to homes, businesses and even schools. While some days Bashlor may only deliver 50 boxes, other days he may have 100!
To promote efficiency, Bashlor offers a 20 percent discount to co-op groups of 5 or more people. Either way, Bashlor runs the same route daily, starting early in the morning.
How does it work? The first thing to understand, as a buyer, is that there are no contracts or obligations.
Shoppers must first go to the website www.polksgo.com and click the button that says Place Your Order Here. Then they will be asked to provide personal information like their name, address, and phone number.
After that, they will be given a list of produce available for that week. They have an option to select produce items that they want and/or don’t want from this list.
Polk’s OTG offers two box sizes; a 10+ pound box of produce for $25 and a 5-pound box for $15.
Customers are then provided with a list of “additional produce add-ons” for an extra charge. These include items like butternut squash ($5), shelled pecans ($15) or citrus ($5).
Bashlor also provides select meat, like bacon and sausage links, as well as dairy, like Amish roll butter and pastured eggs, for an extra cost. Additionally, patrons can select hand-made goods from a list that includes, but is not limited to, Big Boy Locomotive Cane Syrup ($12), Chicharrones ($5) and Gottlieb’s Fresh Baked Wheat Bread ($6). Bashlor even caters to dog-lovers with Munchies by Moe Joe Dog Treats for only $5 as an option.
My personal experience with Bashlor and Polk’s OTG was spectacular! He delivered my box, as well as my co-worker’s, bright and early on Thursday morning, directly to our workplace.
Bashlor’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm sealed the deal.
Each box had a printed label indicating our name and “add-ons”. The contents of the boxes were neatly arranged and clearly packaged with care. It is impressive that Bashlor packs each box himself, revealing his dedication and passion for this family business.
As far as the future is concerned, Bashlor hopes to “run a couple of vehicles to cover the South Carolina area. I would like to grow into offering more products each week, along with more coverage.”
But for now, if you are in a good-food mood, but can’t find the time to purchase healthy eats, let Polk’s OTG cater to your needs.
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